Livecoin admins may have stolen almost 60 BTC over the past three years
Livecoin.net is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Belize that has been operating for over five years. It has more than 600 market pairs, generates roughly $25 Million in trading volume per 24 hour period (according to CoinMarketCap) and has many happy, satisfied users we imagine. In and of itself, it is not a scam.
However, some rogue members of the official Livecoin team are running a scam that, unfortunately, the 01coin Community fell victim to. We would like to recount our experience in hopes of preventing any other cryptocurrency projects from suffering a similar fate.
The story begins on September 18, 2020 when, after years of unsuccessful listing attempts, 01coin finally earned a listing on CoinMarketCap. Amusingly though, the zocteam were the last to know of this development and did not make an official announcement to this effect until 10 days later on September 28 (although in truth, we did find out on the 27th, a Sunday, and deliberately postponed the announcement until the 28th, a Monday for better social media traction).
In the time between September 18 and September 28, a number of new users joined the 01coin Community’s official Telegram group, presumably having discovered us on CMC’s recent additions list. One of those users was a now-deleted account depicted under the username “Liam” who claimed to have an affiliation with the Livecoin exchange, suggesting we should look into a potential listing opportunity.
Members of the zocteam joined the official English-language Livecoin Telegram group and directly messaged “Ethan,” a part of the Livecoin Telegram admin group. Notably, we initiated the contact, thus assuring ourselves that Ethan was, in fact, the user we wanted to speak with, and not an imposter account. Subsequent recontact attempts confirmed the account did, in fact, belong to the legitimate Livecoin admin usernamed Ethan.
Long story short, we exchanged a pleasant conversation and Ethan seemed impressed by the 01coin project and its goals. He subsequently offered us a discounted listing opportunity that fit our budget as a nanocap community coin run by a group of volunteers and arrangements were made via email. About 24 hours later, a Bitcoin payment was made to pay for the listing from the 01coin Community donation wallet to a wallet that has received >57 BTC over the past three years, hence seemingly legitimate for the purpose at hand.
That’s when things started to go sideways.
We received an email from the same email address (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org) instructing us not to send payment and that they were not accepting any new listings. Suffice to say, the payment had already been sent, so we enquired about the apparent communications breakdown within the Livecoin team.
Livecoin’s response indicated that we had fallen victim to a scam. A scam perpetrated by members of their own staff.
When we followed up with Ethan, who had been awaiting a deposit of ZOC for market-making purposes, he deleted all conversations, booted all zocteam members from the official English-language Livecoin Telegram group, and the user Liam in the 01coin Telegram group disappeared along with all of his correspondence.
When asked for comment on this story, Livecoin denied the existence of their Telegram group and said, “We do not have accounts on social networks.” Well, well, well, okay then.
At this point we can only conclude that nobody working at Livecoin.net ought to be trusted. Perhaps this was the work of a few rogue elements operating within Livecoin, or perhaps it goes deeper than that. All we know is that admins within the official Livecoin hierarchy are currently attempting to scam coin projects, and judging from the BTC receiving address, this scam has been running for almost three years and has generated nearly 60 BTC worth of stolen funds. We simply ask coin teams and developers to heed this warning: do not trust anyone at Livecoin.net even if you know they are legitimate because there exists a strong possibility they have gone rogue.